Peter Wright believes he can take his game to ‘another level’ as he targets a maiden BoyleSports World Grand Prix title in Leicester next week.
Wright will be among the eight seeds headlining the 32-player tournament, which takes place at Leicester’s Morningside Arena from October 3-9.
The Scot is featuring in his first televised ranking event since undergoing gallstones surgery in August, having returned to winning ways at last month’s International Darts Open in Jena.
The World Champion also posted successive ton-plus averages at the recent World Series of Darts Finals in Amsterdam, and he is in positive spirits ahead of this year’s showpiece.
“I was really happy with the win in Jena,” said Wright, an 8/1 shot with BoyleSports to triumph next weekend.
“I won it quite easily, beating some top players on the way through, so after the surgery it’s all good.
“I feel confident about where my game is. I think I’m in the top four on the averages over the past few months, so if I can hit my double to start, I should be pretty dangerous.”
Wright is making his 11th appearance in the unique double-start event, and the 52-year-old recalls his debut against Phil Taylor in 2011, which proved to be a baptism of fire.
“The short format is tough but it’s a leveller. You’ve got to be on it or you’re out,” added Wright, a runner-up to Michael van Gerwen in 2018.
“In my first ever appearance at the World Grand Prix, I drew Phil Taylor. I’ll always remember in the practice room we were going up for the bullseye, and Phil hit five 180s on the trot!
“The referee said: ‘Are you ready?’ and he went bullseye. I was thinking: ‘Oh my god, I’ve got to go up against this’.
“I actually went one set up and one leg up, but then he blew me away.”
Wright begins his campaign Belgian star Kim Huybrechts on Monday’s opening night, as he bids to avoid a third consecutive first round exit in the double-start event.
The world number two is without a televised ranking title since scooping his second World Championship crown in January, and he is determined to add to his haul in Leicester.
“The World Grand Prix is definitely on my list,” insisted Wright.
“I was practising for this tournament straight after the surgery. I said to myself that I’ve got to start on tops because it gives you the chance to get the highest start, so fingers crossed it works.
“Kim is playing well. He’s in a good place and he’s beaten me quite a few times recently, but this is double-start so it’s a different playing field. If I hit my doubles, I’ll win.”
With Gerwyn Price defending the £110,000 he claimed courtesy of his 2020 success, Wright could regain the world number spot with a strong showing at the Morningside Arena.
However, the two-time World Cup winner insists it’s only a matter of time until he returns to the darting summit, with a third World Championship crown already firmly in his sights.
“I know I will be world number one when it comes to the World Championship, and when I retain my title I will be even further clear,” Wright declared.
“I believe I can go up another level. I feel really good and my darts just feel like a glove now.
“I am probably going to throw the ones that look like Simon Whitlock’s [darts].
“My versions in practice are going really nicely, so if I can transfer that on TV, I should be hitting some huge averages.”
The tournament will be broadcast live on Sky Sports in the UK, through the PDC's worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN and Viaplay, and on PDCTV (excluding UK, Germany, Austria & Switzerland based subscribers).
2022 BoyleSports World Grand Prix
Schedule of Play
Monday October 3 (1900 BST)
8x First Round matches
Callan Rydz v Krzysztof Ratajski
Brendan Dolan v Stephen Bunting
Chris Dobey v Luke Humphries
Dimitri Van den Bergh v Dave Chisnall
(7) Jonny Clayton v Dirk van Duijvenbode
(2) Peter Wright v Kim Huybrechts
(3) Michael van Gerwen v Gary Anderson
(6) Jose de Sousa v Adrian Lewis
Tuesday October 4 (1900 BST)
8x First Round matches
Madars Razma v Ryan Searle
Ross Smith v Andrew Gilding
Danny Noppert v Gabriel Clemens
Joe Cullen v Damon Heta
(8) Rob Cross v Daryl Gurney
(5) James Wade v Martin Lukeman
(1) Gerwyn Price v Martin Schindler
(4) Michael Smith v Nathan Aspinall